Welcome to Wandering Soul of Sikkim !
Pankaj Giri‘s The Fragile Thread of Hope: A gripping emotional inspirational fiction was one of the best-selling e-books in Amazon. Wandering Soul of Sikkim talked with Pankaj recently for our Young Author Series. Here are the excerpts of our interview with him:
Wandering Soul of Sikkim(WSOS): Would you like to share something from your early years with us?
Pankaj Giri (PG): During my school days, I was interested in writing. I used to imagine fictional cricket matches or short stories and pen them down. A couple of them even got published in my school magazine. During my college days, the writing bug became dormant only to resurface years later, vibrant, pushing me enough to complete my very first novel.
WSOS: What motivated you to pen down your imagination into fiction?
PG: After my father’s sudden death in 2013, an avalanche of feelings passed through me. I realized how shocking death could be and how life could snatch people from you when you believe that they will always be with you. I realized that you shouldn’t take anyone for granted. Then, as I read critically acclaimed books like The Kite Runner and The Lowland, a plot began forming in my mind. I felt like weaving a story based on love, loss, and family relationships. Gradually, the characters developed in my mind, and scenes began taking shape and haunting me. After a few weeks, the characters began putting pressure on me, as if prodding me to bring them to life on the canvas of my novel. Then, as I finally obliged, The Fragile Thread of Hope was born.
WSOS: Your book has valued spirituality, how you link it with your life?
PG: In this day and age, cutthroat competition, fast life, and changing, conflicting ideologies have resulted in anxiety and depression becoming major issues in society. Thus, more and more people are embracing spirituality as a means to battle these demons. Walking the path of spirituality is not easy by any means—I keep getting distracted myself and then finding a way back again—but it is a good way to find peace in our stressful lives.
WSOS: We are aware of the hardships faced by authors; it is tough to publish a book with traditional publishers. Self publishing is easy option but authors often sell low due to non marketing skills and many other factors. What is your opinion regarding traditional and self publishing?
PG: I agree. It is almost impossible to publish a book with traditional publishers, especially via direct submission. And the problem in India is that there are only three or four genuine literary agents, whose job is to find good work, get it edited, and offer them to the top publishers. Thus, it is very tough to get noticed by these agents as well. Fortunately, if you believe that you have written a good book, there is an option nowadays—to self-publish it. However, you need to ensure that your book is professionally edited first, as you don’t want to expose a half-baked work to the public and suffer the embarrassment of negative reviews.
The next issue is marketing your book, which is again a very challenging thing (for traditionally and self-published authors alike) as there is so much competition and a rapidly declining interest in books. However, if you have a decent budget, you can always run Ads and showcase your work to readers and then hope for lady luck to help you. Even if you get a traditional publishing deal, the publishers won’t promote you unless you are a bestseller or a celebrity. But of course, you get a brand and your paperback gets distributed nationally. Long story short, do what all authors do: try for traditional publishers via agents and direct submission for around four-six months. If you get no result, self-publish.
WSOS: How your life changed after being the best selling author in Amazon?
PG: It feels great to know that people are interested in my e-book and buying them, and it feels even better when they leave good reviews. This is just the beginning, though. The success of the paperback is more important, and I’m sure I’ll get much more readership there.
WSOS: Can you please share something about e-books with our readers? How you compare it with printed version?
PG: E-books are a good way to get an initial interest in your book. However, the scope of e-books is very limited in India. Very few people read e-books. 95% of the readers still prefer paperback books. I would have ideally published both of them together, but since I decided to participate in the Amazon Pen to Publish contest, I couldn’t publish paperback as doing so would violate the terms of the contest. If I manage to win the contest, I’ll get a traditional publishing deal with Westland and that would be amazing, but even if I don’t win, I will self-publish my paperback and begin promoting it with fresh vigour.
WSOS: Besides writing what you like to do most?
PG: I like watching movies, English sitcoms, cricket, tennis, and listening to progressive metal music.
WSOS: Your message to young minds of Sikkim?
PG: Dream big and pursue your dream with 200% dedication and passion until you achieve it. Even after achieving your dream, keep improving yourself and aim higher. But wherever you are in your journey, never give up, and always… always keep your feet on the ground.
WSOS: Your feedback for Wandering Soul of Sikkim.
PG: I appreciate the lovely endeavour of Wandering Soul in interviewing young achievers from Sikkim, thus giving inspiration to the youth to work towards fulfilling their dreams.